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Open Source Progresses in German and Finnish Cities

Recent encouraging news comes from OSOR by way of Freiburg, Germany and Helsinki, Finland.

Freiburg has found that migrating to for its standard office software package reduced its cost by 75% compared to the cost of a proprietary office suite.

In “DE: Freiburg: open source office three to four times cheaper,” OSOR reports:

RĂ¼diger Czieschla, head of IT at Freiburg, presented on the city’s use of OpenOffice on 1 December, at a conference in Badajoz organised by Osepa, a project to increase awareness on the advantages of free and open source software. According to him, using OpenOffice cost the city 200,000 Euro. The proprietary alternative would have cost between 600,000 for just a text editor and 800,000 Euro for the proprietary office suite.

ODF compatibility and powerful features like PDF-export also weighed heavily in the city’s decision to adopt in 2007, where it is now installed on 2,300 desktops.

Next, the city council of Helsinki in Finland has determined to undertake a pilot project to implement open source software within the city administration. OSOR’s article titled “FI: City of Helsinki to start open source desktop pilot” explains how the city council voted to initiate the project:

[Johanna Sumuvuori]’s resolution, that tells the city to start a pilot, got the support of sixty council members. “We want the city to get some experience with open source and to find out if we can use it, for instance, to save money. The city is wasting more money every year on proprietary software licenses.”

In the resolution, the council members refer to other public administrations in Finland that are using open source. According to the council members, the ministry of Defence has been using Linux and other open source software for years to develop some of its critical applications. They also point to the Finnish judicial system that has switched to using open source office applications. “Many schools have already switched and in the city of Lappeenranta they estimate this will help to save some 70 percent on the schools’ IT budget.”

With 20,000 desktop computers in Helsinki’s system, adopting open source software could have a significant financial benefit for the city.

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